Margaret Sullivan (journalist)

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Margaret Sullivan, 2016

Margaret M. Sullivan is an American journalist who is the media columnist for The Washington Post. She is the former Public Editor of The New York Times, serving as the "readers' representative" and reporting directly to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. She was the newspaper's fifth Public Editor, or ombudsman, after Daniel Okrent, Byron Calame, Clark Hoyt, and Arthur S. Brisbane, and was the first woman to hold the post. She began her tenure on September 1, 2012, joining The New York Times from The Buffalo News, where she was editor and vice-president. Her first column in the Post ran on May 22, 2016.


Journalists in the age of Trump: Lose the smugness, keep the mission. (November 29, 2016)[edit]

Journalists in the age of Trump: Lose the smugness, keep the mission., The Washington Post (November 29, 2016)
  • We — the traditional, the legacy, the mainstream media — have to change.
  • Often it has been that reporter who has most skillfully played the access game — the one who has curried just enough favor with the powerful newsmaker to be smiled upon, without giving up basic credibility and integrity. That’s access journalism. Accountability journalism, by contrast, is often performed off to the side, by those who don’t have to deal with the news provider on a regular basis.
  • If news organizations learned anything after the campaign, they should have learned that groupthink has a tendency to miss the point and journalistic myopia requires some extra-strength corrective lenses. Do something different. Represent the interests of a broader, more ideologically diverse population. Figure out what they’re thinking and feeling — and why.
  • In the wacky new world of fake news, conspiracy theories, hoaxes — and social media’s unthinking participation in spreading all of that — facts and truth get lost in the noise. A responsible media needs to be especially careful not to unwittingly spread lies by amplifying them. Some early coverage of Trump’s recent unwarranted, evidence-free blasts about the illegality of some of the popular vote fell into that trap. It’s depressing but a fact of life that a lot of people don’t know the difference between fake news and conspiracy bilge and verified fact. Nor do they seem to care.

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